A Nepantla Pedagogy: Comparing Anzaldúa’s and Bakhtin’s Ideas for Pedagogical and Social Change

  • Stephanie Abraham University of Georgia
Keywords: Critical Theory, Critical Pedagogy, Indigenous Thought, Mikhail Bakhtin, Gloria Anzaldúa, Discourse, Epistemology, Teaching, Pedagogy


This paper presents a nepantlan pedagogy that would simultaneously deconstruct and construct our societal discourses while complicating teachers’ and students’ understandings of the world. This idea emerged from my experience as an elementary educator, working in linguistically, culturally, and economically diverse schools, along with my endeavor to earn a doctorate degree in education. It is heavily informed by the work of Gloria Anzaldúa’s theory of nepantla and Mikhail Bakhtin’s ideological becoming.  I illustrate their respective ideas with biographies of the theorists and review of their work to show how their ideas are similar albeit from radically different contexts. I further illustrate their ideas through my personal classroom pedagogies that called for mastery, absolute knowing, and perfection, and how I attempted a nepantla pedagogy that stood contradictory to this.


Author Biography

Stephanie Abraham, University of Georgia
I'm a PhD candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. I'm interested in implementing and studying the critical pedagogies in elementary classrooms. Also, I'm currently working on projects that promote multilingual use in typically monolingual classrooms, one in Georgia, and one in Oaxaca, Mexico.